WALNUT, Ill. (June 20, 2016) – The 2016 ProX ATV Motocross National Championship (ATVMX) presented by CST Tires, an AMA National Championship, continued this past weekend, June 18, at the popular Sunset Ridge MX Park in Walnut, Ill. With perfect race conditions, the world’s fastest ATV racers were able to fully showcase their talents for the large fan base, with Maxxis/Elka Suspension/Liquid Wrench’s Joel Hetrick going 2-1 for the overall win.
The ATVriders.com Top Qualifier Award went to Wienen Motorsports/Yamaha/Maxxis/SSi Decals/Walsh Racecraft/FLY Racing’s Chad Wienen, who turned the fastest lap time during the timed qualifying sessions. Wienen looked to use that speed to take a win in front of his hometown friends and family.
When the gate dropped, signifying the start of the first moto, Maxxis/FLY Racing/Baldwin Motorsports’ John Natalie jumped out to the early lead, claiming the SSi Decals Holeshot Award. However, Wienen quickly took over the lead by the second turn, with Hetrick charging hard in second.
By the second lap, JB Racing/Root River Racing/Gold Speed Tires’ Jeffrey Rastrelli had worked his way into the third-place position. The top three racers maintained their consistency for the remainder of the moto, with Wienen crossing the line victorious and Hetrick and Rastrelli following in second and third.
Koster Racing/Blommel Motorsports/Walsh Racecraft’s Brett Musick earned the SSi Decals Holeshot award in the second moto, but Hetrick and Wienen capitalized on their favorable start and passed Musick by the conclusion of the first lap.
Maxxis/Liquid Wrench/Elka Suspension/Honda’s David Haagsma was running one of his best races in third, until being accompanied by AGX Designs/Walsh Racecraft/Maxxis’ Nick Gennusa. The 2015 Rookie of the Year took command of third place on the fourth lap. Much like Haagsma, Gennusa found himself running one of the best races of his professional career.
As the moto wore on, Hetrick slowly started pulling away from the rest of the pro field and Wienen settled into a comfortable second. Rastrelli ended up facing illness as he was working his way through the pack, which ultimately took him out of podium contention.
Hetrick took home the prestigious overall win going 2-1, with Wienen following in second with a 1-2 moto tally. A pair of fourth-place finishes earned Haagsma third overall. This weekend marked the first time the California native landed a spot on the overall podium.
“I started off the day by taking the fastest qualifier position, and with a strong start in moto one I was able to make two quick passes to take over the lead by the second turn and lead all the way to the checkers,” said Wienen. “The first lap of the second moto was intense and I made two different passes for the lead that I was not able to make stick and had to settle for second. My quad was ripping all day long thanks to all my sponsors. It was so awesome to have the hometown fans and friends behind me. I was digging hard for a win, but it just wasn’t enough in the second moto to get it done.”
Gennusa just missed the overall podium in fourth, but still managed to grab his best finish of the 2016 ATVMX season. Root River Racing/Hoosier Tires/Rage ATV’s Josh Upperman trailed Gennusa in fifth overall (5-6).
Perhaps the most impressive ride in the second moto came from Maxxis/Root River Racing/JB Racing’s Thomas Brown who was able to work his way from outside the top 10 on the first lap to fifth. Brown ended up taking home sixth overall (7-5).
Savage Motorsports/Maxxis/Walsh Racecraft/Elka Suspension/BCS Performance’s Ronnie Higgerson landed a top-10 finish with seventh, and Rastrelli followed in eighth (3-16). Musick scored a ninth overall (12-7) and Natalie rounded out the top 10 at the Sunset Ridge ATVMX National.
The ProX ATVMX circuit travels to Millville, Minn., in two weeks, July 2, for the Spring Creek ATVMX National.